THE Pitman’s Derby is the Gold Cup of the north – and this year’s contest looks better than ever.
Withhold is back to try and repeat his victory of last year, but can he do it?
1. Mootasadir – Hugo Palmer/Dylan Hogan (5) 20-1
Top-weight is a level above these at his best but he’s been out of form for a while and will need to rediscover his best now switched back to his beloved all-weather.
Good claimer takes off 5lb and would have a chance if taking to this longer trip.
2. Austrian School – Mark Johnston/Silvestre De Sousa 14-1
Thrashed them in the Queen’s Cup back in April but has struggled to get to that level since, albeit in tougher company.
The step back into a handicap will help but he looks high enough in the weights at the moment.
3. Red Galileo – Saeed Bin Suroor/Thomas Greatrex (5) 14-1
Carries a 5lb penalty for romping home on the July course in a first-time hood just two weeks ago.
He’s effectively running off the same mark with Thomas Greatrex’s claim and he’d have a big shout if in the same form again.
4. Making Miracles – Mark Johnston/Ben Curtis 12-1
Chester Cup winner clearly thrives on soft ground, though can also perform on the all-weather.
Needs a career best off this mark, though, and is surely a little high in the handicap.
5. Desert Skyline – David Elsworth/Joshua Bryan (3) 25-1
Another who’s found life difficult of late, having contested Group contests for the best part of two years now.
Despite his big weight he’s nicely handicapped, but he’ll need to show a lot more than he did at York last time out.
6. Withhold – Roger Charlton/Jason Watson 8-1
Had a wind operation since bolting up in last year, but has only been seen once when picking up an injury in the Geelong Cup.
Will need to be at his very best to defy an 8lb rise, but couldn’t be in better hands.
7. Gibbs Hill – Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni 7-2
Another who’ll have to defy a mammoth absence, having had his last outing in Class 3 company at Kempton in July 2017.
Couldn’t have been more impressive that day and remains an exciting prospect, for all that he needs to prove his well-being.
8. Proschema – Tom Dascombe/Jane Elliott (3) 9-1
Big step back in the right direction when third behind Red Galileo last time out and has a chance off 1lb higher.
Never run on the all-weather, though, and likely vulnerable to something with a little more stamina.
9. Stratum – Willie Mullins/N.A 12-1
Second runner for Brighton chairman Tony Bloom won a competitive handicap at Newbury last summer before finding it tough off higher marks afterwards.
Been in fine form over hurdles recently, though, and has major claims if taking to synthetics.
10. King’s Advice – Mark Johnston/PJ McDonald 10-1
Seeking a seven-timer after working his way up the handicap ranks, and could well still have room in his mark as he only ever seems to just enough.
That said, this is a much harder test than he’s used to and he could struggle upped in grade.
11. Who Dares Wins – Alan King/Tom Marquand 12-1
Won the Cesarewitch Trial in 2017 but has struggled since off loftier marks, despite usually running a good race.
Suspect he may be handicapped to the hilt, for all that he’s solid in most other respects.
12. Aircraft Carrier – John Ryan/Brett Doyle 25-1
Looked a stayer to follow after hacking up in three races in the winter, but struggled after a break and now has a 10lb higher mark to contend with.
Has obvious class but will need another break to have done him some good.
13. Dubawi Fifty – Karen McLintock/Luke Morris 14-1
Not been seen since Royal Ascot last year and it would need to be some training performance to get him firing on all cylinders now.
Looks on a decent mark, though, and he goes well at this track.
14. Cohesion – David Bridgwater/Steve Donohoe 40-1
Beaten into last on his last two outings and needs to have a major upturn in form if he’s to stop the rot here.
15. Fearsome – Nick Littmoden/Graham Lee 25-1
Chalked up a series of four straight victories over the winter but the handicapper has caught up now and he needs to show plenty more, for all that the surface will suit.
16. Shabeeb – Ian Williams/Paul Hanagan 25-1
Hasn’t had long with Ian Williams, a trainer who can improve them hand over fist.
He’s probably on a decent mark and if Williams can eke out some improvement, he has a squeak.
17. Bartholomeu Dias – Charles Hills/Kieran Shoemark 12-1
Couldn’t lay a hand on King’s Advice at Wolverhampton but has since beaten an improver in good style at this track.
Definitely has claims if getting this longer trip.
18. Cosmelli – Gay Kelleway/Dan Muscutt 20-1
Can be given a squeak on his second off a mark of 95 at the track back in April, but likely to need more than he’s shown recently if he’s to be considered a winning contender.
19. Speedo Boy – Ian Williams/N.A 14-1
Classy stayer has been well-backed this week after bouncing back to form at Newmarket last time out.
Mark looks a touch high but he has a low weight and boasts claims if taking to the surface.
20. Time To Study – Ian Williams/Kerrin McEvoy 14-1
Third runner for Ian Williams needs serious respect after running so well at Ascot last week, with this drop in trip sure to suit.
Still has potential for this handler and provided he’s over his exertions, has a definite chance off the same mark.